10-minute Bananas Foster recipe made with bananas, easy caramel rum sauce, and vanilla ice cream. New Orleans-inspired banana flambe might become your date-night secret weapon!
What is Bananas Foster
The story goes during the 1950's in New Orleans, Brennan's restaurant owner, Owen Brennan, asked Chef Paul Blange to create a dessert with bananas, a locally imported commodity. So he cooked bananas in a caramel rum sauce, ignited it, and topped it with vanilla ice cream. It's such a romantic dessert, no wonder it was born in New Orleans.
Bananas foster recipe ingredients
- butter - add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter
- brown sugar - light or dark
- cinnamon stick - or ground cinnamon
- ripe bananas - preferably not over ripe
- dark rum - bourbon works too
- vanilla ice cream
- pecans - or walnuts (or preferred nut)
How ripe should bananas be for bananas foster dessert?
I prefer to use firmly ripened bananas with very yellow (not browned) skin for bananas foster. They'll soften up when cooked in the rum sauce and I don't want them too soft. If you want a recipe that uses brown-skinned overripe bananas, check out my ridiculously moist Banana Bread recipe. It's banana heaven!
How to make bananas foster
- Make the easy caramel sauce by heating butter, brown sugar, vanilla, pecans, and cinnamon in a skillet.
- Add bananas - saute until softened
- Flambe - (optional) see details in recipe card below
- Baste - cook bananas in the sauce
- Serve - top with ice cream, and devour!
What is banana flambe?
Flambe is when alcohol is added to food and ignited. When you make bananas foster flambe, rum or bourbon is added to a buttery, brown sugar mixture and set alight briefly. You can make bananas foster as a banana flambe, or not. Either method will make a delicious caramel rum sauce.
I'll state the obvious here, but ALL precautions MUST be taken to avoid injury and prevent fire. As with any cooking activity, a fire extinguisher or fire blanket should be on hand at all times.
Can you make Bananas Foster ahead of time?
You could make the caramel sauce ahead of time and refrigerate until needed. However, unless you're hosting an event, I find it just as easy to make the sauce as needed because it comes together in a snap. You wouldn't want to make banana flambe ahead because the bananas will become mushy.
Is Bananas Foster alcoholic?
Alcohol is a key ingredient of classic bananas foster. The flambe process happens very quickly and 75% of the alcohol is retained even after cooking. So, if a person is avoiding alcoholic desserts, omit the alcohol entirely and enjoy this dessert without it.
Can you substitute the alcohol in bananas foster?
If you want to substitute an ingredient for the alcohol in this recipe, you can substitute equal amount of apple juice, pineapple juice, or heavy cream. It might not be a classic bananas foster recipe and you won't be able to flambe (ignite) it, but it will still be delicious.
- 8” cast iron skillet or any small skillet
- paring knife
- fork or whisk
- silicone spatula
- matches or fireplace lighter (if igniting)
How to serve bananas foster
One of my favorite things about this dessert, besides everything, is that you can serve it in the skillet you cooked it in. I used this cute 8" cast iron skillet, which serves 1-2 people. You can serve bananas foster in any dish other than a skillet, I just have a soft spot for iron skillet desserts.
Easy dessert recipes
- No Bake Peanut Butter Pie
- Blueberry Zucchini Bread
- Triple Berry No Churn Ice Cream
- Chocolate Eclair Icebox Cake
- Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
- Blueberry Crisp [Vegan Gluten Free]
- Pear Apple Cranberry Crisp
- Orange Olive Oil Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
More Banana Recipes
- 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- pinch Cinnamon, or cinnamon stick
- 1 ripe Banana, sliced lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons Dark Rum, or bourbon
- 1-2 (4 ounce scoops) Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 tablespoon Pecans or Walnuts, chopped
- Melt BUTTER in skillet over medium heat.
- Add BROWN SUGAR and CINNAMON, stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Add BANANA and cook a few minutes on both sides until softened.
- Turn off stove burner and pour in RUM.
If you don't want to ignite / flambe
- Turn burner back on and allow sauce to cook a few minutes, stirring as needed, then serve.
To make banana flambe, there are 2 ways you can ignite the flame. BE CAREFUL either way and do not stand over the skillet.
- Option 1) Gas stove burner: Turn burner on and adjust to LOW heat. Carefully tip the skillet into the flame to ignite the alcohol, shaking the pan around to baste the bananas until the flame burns off.Option 2) Match or lighter: Keep stove burner off and use a long match or lighter to ignite the alcohol, shaking the pan around to baste the bananas until the flame burns off.
To serve bananas foster
- Serve bananas and sauce in the warm skillet or transfer to a bowl. Add ICE CREAM and PECANS.
Traci's Recipe Notes
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.